Saturday, August 13, 2022

Brief guide to healthy eating as you age

“Young people should know that one day they will grow old,” said Gregorio Maranone. Aging is an important process that we all will go through sooner or later. At this stage of life, health becomes more relevant than ever and is considered the center of interests and concerns.

Lead an active lifestyle and diet Enhances quality of life during healthy and balanced aging. However, a large proportion of the elderly do not have access to a quality diet., In fact, one in three elderly people’s diets are deficient in nutrients, triggering the decline in muscle and bone density that naturally increases as we age, making immune function less effective.

But what is the reason for this state of malnutrition?

On the one hand, the deterioration of cellular processes over the years is very evident. However, not all people suffer from the aging process with the same intensity, as each person’s lifestyle is highly variable. Similarly, aging is usually accompanied by a number of chronic pathologies, making it very difficult to distinguish which changes are produced by the aging process and which are the result of a disease.

Reference photo on old age – Photo: Getty Images/iStockPhoto

Similarly, there are various factors, both physiological and physiological, that can influence the nutritional status of the elderly and the development of diseases. An example may be a decline in the senses with which we perceive Food: Taste, sight and smell. This decline dictates some changes in eating habits, as they can make food less appealing and tasty.s.

Problems while chewing, digesting… and buying

On the other hand, in older people, the prevalence of alterations in the processes of chewing and digestion is much greater. This fact causes the absorption of nutrients present in some foods and hence, their utilization is not sufficient. In addition, changes in the cardiovascular system and liver and kidney damage also hinder the proper utilization of nutrients.

These changes affect nutritional requirements. Thus, there is a decrease in energy needs and an increase in the nutritional needs of vitamin D and calcium. All these changes refer to the diet of the elderly without chronic pathologies. However, it should be noted that in the elderly population, the high prevalence of certain diseases means that many of them have to follow diets restrictive in certain foods or components. other thing, Many older people take multiple medications per day, hence the interactions, which often negatively affect the use of certain nutrients.Happens much more often.

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An older person’s life does not change from the point of view of physiology only. In general, balance disorders, movement limitations, and even disabilities may occur in the elderly. In many cases, it’s a shopping and cooking prospect situation. In addition, psychological state is a factor in the diet of the elderly, as loss of autonomy, loneliness and deterioration of mood state lead to monotonous diets with decreased appetite and many nutrients.

These changes affect nutritional requirements. Thus, there is a decrease in energy needs and an increase in the nutritional needs of vitamin D and calcium. All these changes refer to the diet of the elderly without chronic pathologies. However, it should be noted that in the elderly population, the high prevalence of certain diseases means that many of them have to follow diets restrictive in certain foods or components. On the other hand, many older people take multiple medications per day, so interactions, which most of the time negatively affect the use of certain nutrients, are much more frequent.

Gerascophobia is the irrational fear of aging.
Reference photo on old age – Photo: Getty Images

An older person’s life does not change from the point of view of physiology only. In general, balance disorders, movement limitations, and even disabilities may occur in the elderly. In many cases, it’s a shopping and cooking prospect situation. In addition, psychological status is a factor to be taken into account in the diet of the elderly.Because loss of autonomy, loneliness and mood swings lead to hunger and monotonous diets lacking many nutrients.

better eating tips

A large section of the elderly population has difficulty in eating food. What would be the most recommended solution?

Mouth problems such as decreased saliva secretion and tooth loss make it difficult to chew. As a result, easy-to-chew foods such as dairy products should be preferred and others such as meat and certain vegetables and fruits should be displaced. This can have a negative effect on the nutrient intake of the diet.

In other words, what is eaten is as important as what is not eaten.

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In addition, other strategies that may help with food intake in elderly people can be the following:

  • Use customized cutlery that will not slip and reduce the distance to the plate to prevent food from falling before it reaches the mouth.
  • To make chewing easier, take small amounts of food and empty the food in your mouth before eating again. Eat vegetables in the form of puree, roasted fruits, cooked or minced meat (meatballs, homemade hamburgers) as compotes and meat to facilitate chewing.
  • To avoid coughing and suffocation, it is recommended to modify the consistency of food, avoid mixed consistency or tripping, tilt the head forward when swallowing, and push the food with the tongue. In case of repeated strangulation, the liquid can be thickened with a thick powder.

That said, is it possible to have a healthy diet in old age?

The answer is clearly yes. Eating properly should be beneficial for health as well as enjoyable.

To do this, you need to start with a good purchase, which includes a wide range of healthy foods, and choose those that have the highest amount of nutrients. An example of a varied and balanced diet would be a dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean diet. It has been shown that higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet is directly associated with a lower risk of suffering from chronic diseases of nutritional origin.

Let’s eat well and take care of ourselves. Getting old is no reason to stop caring for the machine that will let us live many more years to the fullest. Let’s have a good age!

By:

Iker Gomez Garcia

PhD student, University of the Basque Country / University of the Basque Country

Alfredo Fernandez-Quintella

Professor of Nutrition and Researcher at CIBERobn, University of the Basque Country / University of the Basque Country

Jennifer Trepiana Arin

Researchers from the Nutrition and Obesity Group of the University of the Basque Country and the Biomedical Research Center in Physiopathology of the Obesity and Nutrition Network (CYBAN) and the BioRaba Health Research Institute, Basque Country University / Euscal Herrico Unibertsitata

Maria Puy Portillo

Nutrition chair. The Network of the Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition Biomedical Research Center (CIBERobn), Basque Country University / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

Article originally published on The Conversation

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